Race And Class In Katrina's Aftermath

In terms of who's at fault, I think we're all at fault. I mean, we all as Americans should not be pleased when any of us, or a large pocket of our communities, live in poverty. And that poverty then translates into lives being lost when a catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina comes along and people end up dying simply because they could not get out because the government didn't plan properly, because they didn't have the wealth or resources to move. My guess is that if another hurricane came through there'd be more people that would be able to get out, but not everybody would be able to get out because, again, the resources just aren't there in families and/or at the government level to move people. And it's unfortunate. We should have learned our lessons from last year, but I'm not sure that we have.

There has to be the political will. Just like how we have a war on terrorism and supposedly we're willing to spend whatever it costs, there needs to be that same level of energy to ensure that people, Americans, our fellow citizens who are in need of the basic necessities, we're not talking about extravagant things, we're talking about having a decent job, having health care, having good schools to send their children to, that those things are within their reach. I think people want and expect their government and leading organizations, the people who are actually going to get something done, the government, nonprofits, corporations, the triumvirate of those three working together to address the problems that they continue to face in their lives. And for a large segment of our population it sort of keeps them back.

It is not acceptable that 37 million people live in poverty in the United States when we always say we're the only superpower and the richest country in the world. It's a stain on a list of accomplishments of what makes America great and we need to figure out how we remove that stain.

LARRY DELIA

Vice President and General Manager, WGNO and WNOL

"There has been progress made over the last year, but given the nature of the magnitude of this event, progress has to be defined differently. In general it's very, very slow and many people whether they live in the lower 9th ward or New Orleans East or Lakeview or Slidell some of the hardest hit areas whether they're rich or poor, many people are still in a holding pattern. They are for many, many reasons. Some people are still waiting for the federal assistance that they can get which is basically helping fill in the blank from where their insurance leaves off and those checks still haven't come out. I believe they're destined to come out either this week or next week. There are so many areas where the storm has hit in a very hard way, and they're still untouched. People want to rebuild and they're not sure because they're not sure if their particular neighborhood will be rebuilt. They don't know about their neighbor necessarily. There's a holding pattern and it's so unprecedented and people really have a lot of resilience here but everyone's patience is kind of running thin and it's very difficult to deal with; however, there is progress. There is tiny little baby steps and eventually people will realize that and they'll still get through it, but it's taking a lot of a lot of patience.

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